Tag Archives: immigrants

The Global Pinoy: The Modern Day Heroes

by Nickee De Leon/AJPress

With the onset of technological advancements and the birth of new industries, the hardworking Juan has learned to broaden his horizons and has become a citizen of the world — a global Pinoy.

There are two kinds of global Pinoys — the immigrants, who have found permanent residence in another country and possibly have become naturalized citizens of the country that they’ve migrated to, and the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) or expatriates. OFWs or expatriates are Pinoys who work with multi-national companies abroad on a temporary (and oftentimes,contractual) basis.

Family always comes first in Filipino culture. This trait does not only apply to immediate family members, but extends to relatives, even relations through affinity as well.

Traveling long distances to work abroad or reside permanently in another country does not make the global Pinoy forget — in fact, it makes him long for home and his family even more. In the midst of homesickness and loneliness, he strives hard to meet his financial goals and provide a better life for his loved ones.

In the beginning of his arduous journey to financial success, he comes across a familiar face, a kababayan, who would help him go through the rudiments of starting a new life in a foreign land.

With his newfound support group, the concepts of family and kababayan become synonymous and synergized for the global Pinoy. He finds reprieve and pays the kindness he receives forward. If his ventures become lucrative enough, he may even be willing to make patriotic investments on the Philippines, either through retirement or business endeavors.

Filipinos never forget their roots and will always find means to visit their home country– thus, the moniker balikbayan (balik means to return and bayan means country). After all, a Pinoy will always remain a Pinoy at heart, no matter what citizenship he has acquired or what new culture he has adapted to.

The OFW

Every year, a considerable population of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) or expatriates seek greener pastures by working in different industries abroad. The spectrum is expanding further, with Pinoy professionals in different fields now working in developing Asian countries as Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

In a 2007 survey conducted by census.gov.ph, the report stated that “the number of OFWs who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2007 was registered at 1.75 million. This represents an increase of 15.3 percent over the estimated 1.52 million OFWs in April to September 2006. Out of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2007, 92.4 percent (1.61 million) were Overseas Contract Workers (OCW) or those with existing work-contact abroad. The number of OCWs in April to September 2007 went up by 16.6 percent over the 1.38 million OCWs estimated for the same months in 2006.”

In the same survey, it was elaborated that “OFWs sent a total remittance of Php110 billion for the period April to September 2007, an increase of Php8 billion (7.7%) from the estimated remittance of Php102 billion for the same months in 2006. Included in the total remittances are cash sent (74.6%) cash brought home (20.7%) and remittances in kind (4.7%). Of the total cash remittance sent for the period April to September 2007, 76.8 percent were sent through the bank, 14 percent were sent through door-to-door and the rest (9.2%) were sent through the agency and or local office, friends or co-workers and other means. OFWs working in Asia, comprising 78.1 percent of all OFWs, sent the biggest cash remittance of Php57.7 billion. Among occupation groups, OFWs working as laborers or unskilled workers posted the highest cash remittance of Php17.6 billion.”

With his intelligence, ingenuity and industry, the Pinoy expatriate has elevated his country’s stature and competence in the global job market. The stigma that was once associated with OFWs has now become a myth. The OFW is no longer deterred nor disheartened by derogatory perceptions, because his sacrifices prove beneficial not only to his family and loved ones, but to his beloved country as well.

The Pinoy immigrant

Filipino immigrants are a common sight around the world — countries as the United States, Canada and Australia are fast-becoming new settlements for migrating Pinoys. In the United States alone, there is already a significant population of Filipino-Americans who have found their place and have adapted to the ways of American culture. The numbers continue to increase, especially with the continuing high demand for medical professionals. Times are changing and opportunities are rising for nurses, physical therapists and doctors.

In an article by Aaron Terrazas from the Migration Policy Institute, it was reported that “the number of Filipino immigrants in the United States tripled between 1980 and 2006, from 501, 440 to 1.6 million, making them the second largest immigrant group in the United States after Mexican immigrants and ahead of the Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese foreign-born.

“Over two-thirds of all Filipino immigrants resided in just five states, although their numbers are growing in places like Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas.”

Other notable facts in migrationinformation.org include: (1) “There were 1.6 million foreign-born from the Philippines residing in the US in 2006. The 1960 census counted 104,843 Filipino immigrants, a number that increased 15.6 times to 1,638,413 Filipino immigrants in 2006. The Filipino-born were the second-largest foreign-born group in the US in 2006 after immigrants from Mexico. (2) Filipino immigrants made up 4.4 percent of all immigrants in 2006. In 1960, Filipino immigrants composed 1.1 percent of all foreign-born in the United States. That share more than tripled to 3.6 percent in 1980 and increased to 4.6 percent in 1990 but decreased slightly to 4.4 percent in 2006.”

From balikbayan to balikbayani

According to Inquirer.net,the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced in October 2007, through a study that was released in Washington DC, that the Philippines ranked fourth in dollar remittances among developing countries with $13.7 billion of global remittance flows in 2006.

In these trying times, The Philippines has found refuge in the new income-generating global Pinoy — the foremost contributor in revving up dollar revenues and boosting the Philippines’ economy. They have become a new breed of heroes – the balikbayanis, instigators of an economic revolution that counters poverty. Global Pinoy Power has become the new People Power, a teeming source of economic stability and empowerment.

Specialized needs

Global Pinoys have become a formidable force to reckon with — a potential market with unique needs. These unique needs necessitated the inception of a new industry — one solely dedicated to ensuring that their exigencies are met with ease and convenience. Remittance centers, balikbayan box companies and travel agencies are all part of this singular group.

Their specialized services have made this industry an indispensable part of global Pinoy culture. They may even be considered as balikbayanis themselves. They are the mediators that turn the global Pinoy’s dreams into reality through balikbayad (remittances), the balikbayan box and of course, the balikbayan.

The balikbayani ecosystem operates with such efficiency and symbiosis. Remittances to the Philippines provide our economy with much needed dollar revenues. Balikbayan boxes sent to the Philippines not only bring the global Pinoy’s parcel of love home but also generate jobs and added income for our kababayans. Reasonable airfare rates and travel packages attract millions of global Pinoys to come home every year, thus increasing income for the country further through tourism.

Indeed, it’s always a win-win situation in the balikbayani ecosystem — a manifestation of Pinoy’s ingenuity and adaptability wherever in the world he may be. (www.asianjournal.com)

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Moms need a break too

by Jherlyn Meneses/AJPress

If you’re a working mom, and you’re juggling the three hectic roles of  being a wife, a mother and an employee at the same time, it’s time to hold your chin high, give yourself a nice pat in the back and tell yourself that: “Woman, you rock!”

Why not? Being a mom, for one, is already a gargantuan task. This may sound too cliché but carrying a child in your womb for nine months, with all the sickness and weight issues that accompany pregnancy, could be a totally punishing experience for the weak of heart.

The arduous task of nursing and caring for the baby, also, could be vigorously extraneous to the inexperienced.

Achieving the “American Dream” is difficult indeed for working moms like me. Moms, sadly, have to wear different hats, two or three at times, to keep up with the enormous responsibilities on their hands.

Daily, you are faced with several tasks of working, raising your kid and addressing an endless list of domestic chores. How’s that for a challenge?

Any person with feeble health might suffer a stroke when confronted with this anxiety-provoking lifestyle. Although oftentimes you feel you’re on the verge, getting sick is absolutely not an option.

Back in the Philippines where there is a multitude of help, child care and keeping one’s household spic-and-span are not so complicated. Either you have relatives to assist you, or hire a housekeeper / babysitter at your beck and call.

Here in the US, you’re on your own. If you can afford to pay a sitter or a house help, you are blessed! A sitter’s fee is equivalent to a full month’s salary of a minimum wage earner, nowadays. Whew!

In a recent survey made by the US Census Bureau, it was reported that 7 out of 10 mothers are in the labor force. Working moms account for almost a fifth of all employed individuals and nearly a quarter of employed mothers usually work full-time.

Aside from working full-time, these mothers also spend more than 2 hours each day performing active childcare, cleaning the house and preparing meals.

“The situation they face is not just simply employment, but combining employment with motherhood & housekeeping. Since women continue to be the principal caretakers of children, how do they combine work and family roles over the course of their lives?” the survey asked.

There are a lot of reasons why Pinay moms work. Most women work to augment the family’s income; others, to become self-sufficient; still some work to simply attain a certain form of personal fulfillment or a higher self-esteem.

For many women, it’s empowering especially if you bring home another paycheck. It is also a way for self-improvement. Some perks such as the healthcare and retirement benefits entice women to hold on to their jobs. However, the demands and the pressures on mothers these days are not commensurable, still, to whatever gratifications they receive.

A lot of us try to be the best mom, an excellent wife and a proficient worker. To women, nothing could be better than having a happy home and a successful career.

But we must also give ourselves a break. Let’s pause and take stock. After all, we’re only human beings.

Hats off to all working moms out there!   (www.asianjournal.com)

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Minorities Report

By Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – America is a nation of immigrants. When you walk down the streets of Los Angeles or New York, for example, you see a mixture of Hispanics and Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, and Europeans blending in with the White Americans. Yet, our television screens do not reflect this mixture.

The millions of minorities that are so visible on our streets and in shopping malls, in our offices and health care centers, are quite invisible on TV. Most of the time, minorities are portrayed as the “bad guys”, or given secondary roles in poorly-paid professions, or “mere props” in the background.

The US organization, Children Now, came up with a 1998 study entitled A Different World: Children’s Perceptions of Race and Class in Media which supports this sad fact. Their research found that because of what they see on TV, children associate white characters with various attributes: having lots of money, being well educated, being a leader, doing well in school, and being intelligent. Conversely, they associate minority characters with breaking the law, having a hard time financially, being lazy, and acting goofy.

Commissioner Michael J. Copps from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) noted this poor representation of minorities in media. In a recent media interview  organized by the Filipino American Leadership Council (FALCON), and Mabuhay Alliance, Commissioner Copps admitted that the media does not reflect the significant contributions of other ethnic groups in society.

“The way to address this problem is to help the minorities own more media companies so that they will have a voice in how their race is being reflected,” Copps said.

Another FCC Commissioner, Jonathan Adelstein, said that you don’t see enough good role models of minorities portrayed in media. “Media must be obligated to reflect the many contributions of other ethnic races to American society. It must truly reflect what America is all about. But if only the whites control and own media, minorities lose a voice,” he said.

Copps and Adelstein said that they are not in favor of media consolidation – if most media companies will be owned by one same group. “This is the enemy of diversity,” they said.

The interview with the FCC Commissioners was organized by FALCON as a result of the media disparagement of Filipino health care professionals in the TV show, Desperate Housewives. FALCON is a coalition of major Filipino American professionals, humanitarians, businesses, and socio-civic organizations in the United States which serves as an advocacy group that works to safeguard, protect, and defend the constitutional rights, honor, image, integrity and general welfare and interests of Filipino Americans in the United States.

Back in 1993, the American Screen Actors Guild (SAG) began to collect statistics on the number of ethnic and minority actors appearing in American television and films. The results were grim. The face of North American entertainment was overwhelmingly white, mostly male and young. Members of visible and ethnic minorities were significantly under-represented across the whole range of entertainment media.

Critics and advocacy groups began to pressure the industry to produce shows and films that adequately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity we find in our communities and there have been significant gains.

In its 2000 report, SAG announced a seven per cent increase in industry jobs and record numbers of roles for performers of color, with African Americans accounting for 15 per cent of all characters in television and film.  However, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) pointed out that of the four major networks’ 26 new prime-time shows for the 2000 season, none featured people of color in lead roles. The NAACP’s 2000 survey of Hollywood and Beverly Hills screen writers found that only 7 per cent of the 839 respondents were members of minority groups

Another study in 2002 by UCLA concluded that “minorities are even more under-represented in key behind-the-scenes creative and decision-making positions than they are on the [television] screen.” Many analysts are concerned that the dearth of minority executives, producers, directors and screenwriters is fuelling the tendency to ignore or misrepresent ethnic groups.

FCC said there are incentives being given to minorities who want to own media companies like tax credits and such other programs to promote diversity.

“If more minorities own media companies, then we can have diversity,” Copps said.

“You can have more models of various ethnicities in front of the camera if the one who owns the camera is of another ethnic background too, “ said Adelstein.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Pinoys Assimilate Faster

by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com

MAKATI CITY – Filipino immigrants have assimilated faster than other ethnic groups in the United States for the last 25 years according to “Measuring Immigrant Assimilation,” a study recently released by a New York-based think tank.

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research published findings of the report measuring immigrant assimilation based on census and other data to devise an assimilation index to measure the degree of similarity between the United States’ foreign-born and native-born populations.

“This is something unprecedented in US history,” reported author and Duke University Associate Professor of Public Policy Jacob Vigdor said, according to the Washington Post. “It shows that the nation’s capacity to assimilate new immigrants is strong.”

Filipino immigrants scored 49 out of 100 points on the assimilation index, well above the average 28 and falling second only to Canada which scored 53. Cuba followed with 43 points while immigrants from Korea and Vietnam scored 41.

The institute conducted research on immigrants from 10 countries where large numbers of them originate and the list includes China, India, Mexico, El Salvador and Dominican Republic.

It is said that the index provides the most detailed estimates to date of the assimilation levels of immigrant groups in the United States. Noted immigration scholar Stephan Thernstrom called the index, “an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the vital issue of immigrant assimilation.”

Assimilation Index

According to the institute, the index is a quantified measurement based on the comparison between foreign- and native-born people in three categories: economic, cultural, and civic factors.

The index included questions on civic factors, such as rates of US citizenship and service in the military; economic factors, such as earnings and rates of homeownership; and cultural factors, such as English ability and degree of intermarriage with US citizens. The higher the number on a 100-point index, the more an immigrant resembled a US citizen.

Immigrants from the Philippines, Canada, Cuba and Korea scored 100 points in the economic assimilation category. The economic index compares the labor force, educational attainment, and home ownership patterns of the foreign- and native-born.

For cultural assimilation, immigrants from Canada topped the poll with 100 points, with the Philippines and Vietnam following at 72 points, followed by El Salvador and Dominican Republic at 71. This was based on the ability to speak English, the number of marriages with those born in the US, the number of children, and marital status.

Immigrants from China, India, Korea and Vietnam showed a lower degree of cultural assimilation than Filipinos. Filipino immigrants are assimilating to the American society fairly quickly, ranking second in civic assimilation after Vietnamese immigrants.

The authors of the report said civic assimilation is to some extent an “even stronger indicator of immigrants’ intentions than cultural assimilation” as “the choice to become a naturalized citizen, or to serve in the United States military, shows a tangible dedication to this country.”

Immigrants from China, India, and Mexico showed relatively slow rate of assimilation, scoring below the average with 21, 16, and 13 points respectively.

The Mexicans, considered as the largest immigrant group in the United States today, is the least assimilated. This is a report finding that Howard Husock, vice president for policy research at the institute found “striking”.

In his article “The Assimilation Factor,” Husock said, “But the most striking finding is much less positive. The current overall assimilation level for all immigrant groups combined, measured on a scale of zero to 100, is, at 28, lower now than it was during the great immigration wave of the early 20th century, when it never went below 32. What’s more, the immigrant group that is by far the largest is also the least assimilated. On the zero-to-100 scale, Mexicans — 11 million emigrated to America between 1980 and 2006 — score only 13.”

They do assimilate, according to Husock, but “it’s extremely slow”.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Overseas Filipinos Come Home

by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com

MAKATI CITY – Overseas Filipinos from around the world gathered at the First Global Filipino Nation International Conference, which opened at the University of Makati on Thursday, May 8. The three-day event was touted as the biggest gathering of overseas Filipinos.

Convenors said that one of their goals is to get migrants to join the campaign for effective governance in the Philippines. They also hope that the conference participants would be able to review, refine and adopt detailed action agenda called logical frameworks (logframes) which can be implemented and actualized.

“We have been working on this for the past six years and in my travels here and abroad, I have found out that there is a convergence of thought among Filipinos wherever they are. We are hoping that through this conference, we will be able to come up with ideas on how to empower the global Filipino,” Victor Barrios, lead convenor of the conference said, as he welcomed the participants.

Barrios also explained that the theme, “Building the Global Filipino Nation for Effective Governance,” is anchored on three aspirations: grassroots economic empowerment, resolution of issues facing migrant workers and their families, and raised consciousness of a nation ready to march as one.

Makati City 2nd District Rep. Marlen Abigail Binay led the ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened the art exhibit which featured works of upcoming Filipino artists.  The first day of activities also included a job and trade fair.

Different sessions and workshops that tackled issues concerning the global Filipino were held on the second and third day of the conference.

The three main modules focused on the economic, social and political aspects of migrant life, and the media as a tool to empower global Filipinos.

The social module focused on the most urgent problems encountered by migrant workers and their families and what the Global Filipino Nation as a group can do about them.

The economic module highlighted the possibility of converting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to become world-class players and encouraging entrepreneurship on a nation-wide scale, while the political module focused on the goal of empowering global Filipinos, their families and onshore Filipinos with a global mindset as a force for governance change.

Greg Macabenta, publisher of Filipinas Magazine led the discussion on “Media as a Change Agent” as he presented those who joined the group with copies of various Filipino publications from the US to Europe to Asia and the Middle East.

The group agreed that there should be a Global Filipino Media Organization, and as such, a framework was prepared to establish a Philippine-based coordinative body to pursue this objective.

On a much larger scale, Barrios said that the convenors are in the process of coordinating with the University of Makati for the creation of a Global Filipino Institute for Policy Research.

If this comes to fruition, the almost 10 million global Filipinos will be more empowered as they will have an infrastructure which can document the situation of migrants from all over the world, specially Overseas Filipino workers who are abused by their employers, and create policies that will help the migrant workers.

Another way is through the internet and the convenors believe that they can leverage Information Technology and Communications (ITC) as a tool through the creation of a dynamic web portal.

The portal dubbed “The Filipino Global Village” will help organize, educate and connect Filipinos in all parts of the world was introduced during one of the workshops.

The aim is to leverage the efficient use of technology to connect overseas Filipinos. The portal will encourage members to facilitate communication and interaction among members and increase computer literacy to those who are not too tech-savvy. It will include social networking services to interact with fellow members. It will also provide a platform to unify and present a single voice and raised awareness of various social, political and economic issues across the world.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Immigrant Group Reaches Deal with Remittance Company

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – The Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action (TIGRA), an immigrant advocacy group protesting the high transaction fees placed on migrant workers’ remittances has made an agreement with a money transfer company and asking for others to follow suit.

TIGRA has set forth a deal with Texas-based Virtual Money Inc. whose leaders hope, will lead to new business standards for the billion dollar remittance industry.

Among the agreements arrived at were that Virtual Money and its authorized Master Agents ICE Holdings Limited (IHL) would provide fair prices of at least 20 percent lower than the industry standard; commit to socially-responsible investing; abide by customer service standards based on transparency and non-discrimination; and adhere to a community reinvestment strategy which allocates up to 10 percent of revenues to projects that assist transnational communities, according to details of the deal announced last Tuesday in Los Angeles,

“This is the standard we want for the whole [remittance] industry,” said Francis Calpotura, executive director of TIGRA. “It has to have a community redevelopment standard that says, ‘we are committed to the communities that we benefit from and that part of our profit has to go back to those communities.’ Virtual Money is the first one to step up.”

Virtual Money uses the digital infrastructure to transact money. Rather than building branches in strategic locations, the company uses their own ATM cards for clients to access, transfer or check their funds. The low overhead costs can afford the company to lower its transaction fee.

“Because of the new technology, there is no reason why people have to pay such outrageous prices. We can do it cheaper, get it to the hands of people faster, and let the consumer know every cost involved in the process,” said Virtual Money Founder, President and CEO Robert Hodgins,

Remittance Market

Many foreign countries’ economies like Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines rely heavily on the amount of money remitted by overseas workers.

The World Bank estimated that overseas Filipino workers (OFW’s) sent home more than $12.4 billion in 2006. There are more than three million OFW’s working in countries like the US, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Europe.

The Philippines ranks fifth globally in terms of remittances received from its overseas workers,” said Amando M Tetangco, Jr, Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) in a statement at the 13th Meeting of the World Savings Bank Institute Asia-Pacific Regional Group.

The World Bank revealed that migrant worker remittances reached $260 billion globally in 2006.

Remittance companies’ transaction price ranges from $2.95 up to $12  depending on the amount of money being sent. With billions of dollars being sent home, remittance companies have been cashing in.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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FilAms Call for Immigration Reform

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – FilAm Mike Pedro waved a Philippine flag as he marched down Broadway Street in Downtown, Los Angeles.

Wearing a white MIWON (Multi-ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network) shirt that read “Filipinos for Genuine Immigration Reform,” the outreach specialist for Search to Involve Pilipino Americans wanted it to be known that Filipinos are just as involved with the immigration issue as their more highly publicized Latino counterparts.

“I don’t think a lot of people know that undocumented Filipinos are also under attack,” said Pedro standing behind a group of FilAm activists holding a “No Immigrants = No Economy” banner. “They need workers’ rights as well. Most people think that this is just a Chicano, Latino or Mexican American thing, but all different ethnicities [like] Filipinos, Asians, Chinese should be included.”

Pedro was part of a large contingent of FilAms that were part of the estimated 30,000 demonstrators that filled the streets of Downtown Los Angeles calling for comprehensive immigration reform.

The protest was part of a nationwide effort to condemn the increase of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) work-site raids, to demand a path to citizenship for more than 12 million illegal immigrants in the US and to stop the deportations of those swept in the raids. Across the country from San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Washington DC., protestors joined in solidarity.

Filipino groups Filipino-American For Immigration Reform (FAIR), Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) and Gabriela-Network-LA were among the many immigrant groups that joined together for this one common cause.

Strella Cervas of PWC said she’s marching for undocumented Filipinos. As a case manager for PWC, she said there is a rise in the number of Filipinos being swept up by these ICE raids and being deported.

“It’s a very serious issue in our community,” she said. “We’ve seen ICE go into their business and their homes. We had one case where a Filipino was taken as she took the Greyhound bus. She was later deported.”

In 2007, ICE arrested more than 4,077 undocumented workers through nationwide raids, according to its website. It is believed that the number of undocumented Filipinos continue to increase dramatically.

Jollene Levid of Gabriela Network said she was also marching to make people aware of the plight of Filipino immigrant women in the US.

“It makes me feel real good to be part of this,” said Levid. “As the daughter of immigrants, I understand that in order for us to make any change, we not only have to fight in a legal forum but [also] here on the streets.”

Despite the low turnout of protesters compared to last year’s, the groups spirits were high. Three large groups of protestors met in different areas of Downtown LA before converging on Broadway and 7th Street. From there, the groups marched together towards City Hall where a stage was set up.

The mood of the marchers was festive. Like Pedro, many immigrant activists waved flags from their home country. Some had US and Mexican flags, others held up banners that read, “Stop the Raids,” and a majority carried pickets with other immigrant slogans like “My Dream, The American Dream.” The FilAm groups chanted, “Makibaka! Huwag Matakot! (Join the Struggle! Don’t be afraid!).

The smell of bacon-wrapped hot dogs and the sound of party poppers were in the air. Street vendors lined the curb of Broadway and 1st Street anticipating the arrival of the immigrant groups. Children sat on the curb similar to a parade route.

Police officers also made their presence felt. A number of officers marched along with the activists. Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said that more than 500 LAPD officers were deployed to oversee this event.

Last year, a melee erupted when officers and demonstrators clashed at MacArthur Park, the site of the rally. Because of the disastrous incident, the LAPD had been training for months to prepare for this year’s immigration rally.

“We had a really tough time [last year] and made quite a few mistakes,” said Paysinger. “Since that time there’s been an enormous amount of training…and based upon that we’re going to see a different result.”

As the first batch of immigrant groups marched their way past Spring Street on Broadway toward City Hall, Neil Diamond’s fitting song, “America” blared from the speakers.

Far, we’ve been traveling far… only want to be free. We huddle close. Hang on to a dream. On the boats and on the planes, they’re coming to America. Never looking back again. They’re coming to America.

“The march over here was long,” admits Pedro, who marched for two miles with a group of protestors starting from MacArthur Park. “It was long and hot but it’s well worth it. We have to fight for our brothers and sisters out there.”

Police Chief William J. Bratton told the Asian Journal as the last groups of marchers settled in, that to his knowledge no one had been arrested this year.

“As you could see, the crowd is very orderly, very enthusiastic,” said Bratton. “There have been no problems at all. And there [have been] no arrests made up to this point.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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